In any business, a key component of success is knowing your customer. This same concept holds true if you are learning how to build a dental plan for your company.
Your goal should be to offer a plan that meets everyone’s dental health and financial requirements. However, you can’t do this without understanding all employees’ needs, which can be challenging with a diverse workforce.
How to Build a Dental Plan
Matching dental benefits to the needs of current employees will play a significant role in helping them maintain their oral (and overall) health. And offering a comprehensive dental plan can make your company more competitive in attracting long-term team members. It can be a win-win. Healthy, happy employees are productive employees.
Here are three tips that can help you navigate the process of building a customized dental plan for your company.
1. Design for the Ages
Dental treatment needs can vary greatly from one generation to the next, impacting the type of benefits that employees find most desirable and useful. For example, younger employees who are single—notably those who had good dental care growing up—will be looking for an inexpensive plan with good preventive benefits that include checkups, diagnostic services and regular cleanings.
Families with children typically want a plan that covers the usual preventive services but also fluoride treatments and sealants, as well as emergency and basic services (in case a filling becomes a necessary treatment). Orthodontic treatment isn’t always included in all dental plans, but this is a service that many parents hope to have some benefits for.
Just as your middle-aged employees feel relief knowing they are through their cavity-prone years, gum disease can still sneak up on them. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that almost half of all Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and the percentage of people with gum disease actually increases with age. Therefore, a plan that covers periodontal services and maintenance—as well as root canal treatment—becomes more important as employees age.
Baby boomers are staying in the workforce longer than their parents’ generation, and previous dental work doesn’t always last forever. Employees who are in their 60s or 70s will most likely want a plan that has adequate coverage for extractions and major services, such as crowns and bridges. They may also be concerned about any waiting periods that can affect them.
2. Understand the Impact of Network vs. Non-Network
If employees are offered a plan that requires the use of participating dentists, ensure that there are dentists in convenient locations for them and their families. Otherwise, workers may not opt for the plan (or have to go out of network), causing them to incur higher costs and feel less satisfied with the dental plan.
It is also a good idea to know whether employees will have to change dentists in order to take advantage of the plan’s lower out-of-pocket costs. For some individuals, this may not be an issue—especially if they don’t have an established dentist—but for others, having to change dentists after going to the same office for years can be upsetting.
3. Weigh the Rates vs. the Benefits
Most employees would love to have rich benefits with low premiums and copayments; and employers would love that too. Unfortunately, the richer the plan, the higher the rate. Not to mention, low-cost plans usually have higher deductibles and more restrictive benefits.
Companies with higher-paying jobs can offer more expensive plans, but it doesn’t make sense to offer employees on the lower end of the pay scale a plan they can’t afford and have to opt out of. In most instances, one plan doesn’t fit all.
So, if your company employs a wide-range of age groups and has employees of various financial means, offering multiple plan options may be the answer to meeting the essentials of what each employee wants (and can afford) in a dental plan. Look for a dental insurance provider that offers an array of plans and benefit configurations to help you find the right dental plan for your company.